University Of Phoenix finds payoff in private cloud

University Of Phoenix finds payoff in private cloud

The Apollo Education Group, parent organization of the University of Phoenix, wanted to modernize its IT operations to support larger-scale online education. As the producer of a pioneer system for working adults, Apollo needed to take greater advantage of digital outreach, or “distance education.”

“We said we wanted to build the classroom of the future. We also wanted to use analytics to understand the data in our student platform and in student behavior,” said Michael Sajor, CIO of the Apollo Education Group, in an interview with InformationWeek.

Apollo’s early efforts to do this were not in its enterprise data centers but on Amazon’s EC2 cloud, and those efforts showed promise. But Apollo is a large educational organization, supporting 250,000 students through its University of Phoenix and Western International University programs. “We found the public cloud option wasn’t the best option for us economically when we tried to go to that scale,” said Sajor.

Apollo decided instead to build out a private cloud based on VMware’s vCloud Suite and Vblocks from the VMware-Cisco-EMC consortium, VCE. Vblocks are racks of Cisco blade servers pre-loaded with VMware virtualization and, in this case, cloud software. Critics consider them a pricey alternative to doing it yourself, but they have the advantage of being preconfigured for maximum performance and being ready to go out of the box.

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